Future ASF Funding Arrangements

Thursday 28 March 2019

The Department for Education launched the Adoption Support Fund in May 2015, with a government commitment to continue to fund therapeutic support for families whose children left care through adoption or special guardianship until March 2020.  Funding has increased year on year and the 2019-20 budget is more than double that offered in the first year of operation.

Funding for the ASF beyond 2020 will be subject to the spending review process taking place this year.  HM Treasury carries out spending reviews to determine how to spend public money – usually over a multi-year period – in line with the government’s priorities. The overall amount of spending available is informed by the wider fiscal position. The money the government spends is reviewed to ensure future funding continues to be efficient and cost-effective.  The spending review in 2019 will consider whether the Adoption Support Fund should continue.  It will look at the evidence of the impact it has had and whether it is cost effective.  As you may be aware, until the review has been concluded we are unable to say whether the ASF will continue.

The government recognises that children leaving care into adoptive and special guardianship families are likely to have experienced severe trauma prior to coming into care and will need therapeutic support to help them thrive.  Equally, we understand that the absence of certainty around funding beyond March 2020 has become a growing concern.

With this in mind we have committed some funding for 2020-21 in advance of the spending review settlement.  This will mean that families can continue to access support beyond March 2020 in cases where therapy packages have been agreed and started in the 2019-20 financial year.  From July 2019, until the SR settlement is known, packages of support will be limited to a maximum of 9 months.

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